I always thought it was strange that in all the mainstream analyses of the NATO-Russian war in Ukraine, the possibility that Russia could match and exceed Ukraine’s foreign equipment supply line by purchasing Chinese, Iranian, Turkish, and North Korean armaments was never taken into account. Now, a new deal between Russia and North Korea makes it clear that they should have been.
The most significant rumor from the North Korean parleys is that Russia has possibly made deals to obtain over 10 million 122mm and 152mm artillery shells from North Korea. If even remotely true, it represents a significant number that represents upwards of 1-3 years’ worth of shell useage, depending on intensity. Firing 30k shells a day equals just over 10M per year.
Such a massive shell boost—if true—could give Russia enough to comfortably launch a massive offensive in the future without worrying about dipping into emergency reserve. Recall what I said many times before: one weakness is that Russia always has to maintain a large reserve stock of shells for the contingency that NATO happens to launch some sort of sneak attack, and full scale war breaks out. That means Russia could have several million shells as an emergency reserve it doctrinally cannot touch.
For what it’s worth, SBU head Budanov, by the way, said that Russia has already begun receiving the shipments.
So, not only can Russia exceed the total manufacturing capacity of the USA and Europe itself, but it can multiply its own resources by more than a factor of 2 by turning to its allies for additional support.
The important question here is why Russia feels the need to significantly expand its ammunition supply when it is a) winning the war and b) successfully increasing its own domestic manufacturing capabilities. An offensive is one possibility. But the attempt by the USA to open fronts on Russia’s borders in Armenia and Georgia should not be discounted.